Laser beam self-focusing in the atmosphere

Alexander M. Rubenchik, Michail P. Fedoruk, Sergei K Turitsyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We propose to exploit a self-focusing effect in the atmosphere to assist delivering powerful laser beams from orbit to the ground. We demonstrate through numerical modeling that when the self-focusing length is comparable with the atmosphere height the spot size on the ground can be reduced well below the diffraction limits without beam quality degradation. The density variation suppresses beam filamentation and provides the self-focusing of the beam as a whole. The use of light self-focusing in the atmosphere can greatly relax the requirements for the orbital optics and ground receivers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number233902
Pages (from-to)233902
Number of pages1
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2009


  • self-focusing effect
  • powerful laser beams from orbit to the ground
  • diffraction limits
  • beam filamentation


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